Andraya Williams was leaving the women's restroom on the first floor of the Overcash Building at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. The 22-year-old was heading to class but didn't make it. Instead, the first semester freshman says she had an encounter that has soured her college experience.
"As I was exiting, the female security guard was coming in and she stopped me and asked me could she see me my student ID," says Williams. "And I told her yes and I asked her why. And she asked me was I male or female. And I told her female and she laughed."
Williams, who is transgender and identifies as female, says the officer called for backup. And she says even though she showed her college ID to the other officers, Williams says security still escorted her off campus, and told her not to come back until further notice.
She believes she was discriminated against because of her looks.
"When it happened I was really upset," she says. "I was confused and you know I was really embarrassed and humiliated because there was other students around and there were a lot of security guards that came for back-up like it was a violent situation."
Williams says she met with a Dean the day after the incident.
"He told me my suspension was lifted and he asked me to bring medical documentation stating that I am a female. He said that would be the only way he could protect me from the same situation happening again."
Williams says she wants "an apology, and for policy to be changed and training courses for transgender equality."
Some CPCC students and others from organizations and campuses around the area are planning a Friday afternoon protest near CPCC's Central Campus.
In a written statement to WBTV, college officials say "Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) is an open-door, open-access institution of learning, and we are proud of its rich diversity. CPCC has a 50-year history of being fair, respectful and considerate of all students. The College does not tolerate harassment of any kind. College personnel have been investigating the incident in question for several days, and the goal is to reach an amicable resolution with the student in the near future.
School officials say "The College has examined its policies and procedures, and we are certain that they are in compliance with current laws. The College will work to ensure those policies are followed and clearly communicated. We intend to have on-going dialogue with local and state LGBT leaders, including the College's own LGBT organization, as we continue to address this issue."
Williams says "I'm not comfortable on the campus. I don't feel like I'm safe from staff because nothing has been done about the situation. I feel like it can happen again - even if it's not to me, it can happen to another person."
According to Sarah Demarest, Williams' attorney, the school's Title IV Coordinator allegedly told Williams she couldn't file a complaint because she didn't have any rights as a transgender student.
Attorney Demarest says she's considering filing a complaint with the Board of Education, and she is giving CPCC an opportunity to correct the matter.
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